Haudenosaunee Passports - Creating A National Security Concern?

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It seems that new passports are in the news a lot lately and recently there was an incident report involving the Iroquois lacrosse team. They were going to England to compete in the World Championships. They were not permitted to leave because they possessed Iroquois passports.

While other team members were from Canada and the United States, this team of Iroquois Native Americans is members of the Iroquois Nation. The Iroquois Nation has been issuing their own passports to call attention to the Iroquois culture and heritage. Since they did not have an American or Canadian passport, they were denied entrance into the United Kingdom and could not compete. They were saved at the last minute by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who issued a one-time waiver for the team so they could reenter the United States but the United Kingdom did not validate this waiver.

There are a couple different opinions on the whole situation. One side attests that if they're a citizen of the United States or Canada, as some of them are, they should be required to get their respective country's passports just like everyone else. They feel that this team should not be an exception to the rule. Increasingly more countries are turning down these passports because they don't feature the anti-fraud and anti-identity theft features that American passports feature, and this in itself poses a National Security risk as well as a personal risk for the members of the team.

There are others who feel that tradition has been for the Iroquois to issue their own passports for reasons of pride and these have always been sufficient in the past and their validity should be continued. However, we all know that times are changing and never before has the threat of terrorism been so great. While the Iroquois Nation feels they are being singled out and should not be considered a risk, the lack of anti-fraud technology on the passports make them a potential problem.

And yet another side of the argument claims that this is just another attack on the Native American identity. They feel that the Iroquois, ironically enough the creators of the game of lacrosse, are being taken for granted and subjected to this discrepancy because of their native heritage, and that forcing them to get a USA Passport quick is demeaning to the culture. This is where the coach of the team stands. He feels that they are being trapped in a corner where they either must abandon their Native identity or be forced to forfeit a chance at the National Championship title for a sport they themselves invented a thousand years ago.

The laws surrounding passports are surprisingly vague when it comes to issues like this. For example, a recent story in the news talks about how 4,500 sex criminals were issued passports in order to travel abroad. In these sorts of cases, it seems difficult to create and enforce laws to restrict or allow international travel. Is being forced to get a passport quick an unfair measure? Has this been turned into an unnecessary political excuse to butt international heads? How do you feel about this issue? Should the once-accepted passports of the Iroquois Nation be turned down in order to further prevent National Security risks?

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